Category Archives: Religious Philosophy

Rev. George V. Coyne Addresses Colgate Graduates and Receives Honorary Degree

Renowned astronomer and McDevitt Chair in Religious Philosophy, Rev. George V. Coyne, was recently the baccalaureate speaker at Colgate University’s 193rd commencement ceremony where he was also awarded his 10th honorary degree. Coyne’s address spoke of the freedom to which a liberal arts education can lead and challenged Colgate’s graduates to have the compassion, graciousness, and dignity to liberalize themselves.

Those also receiving honorary degrees from Colgate University this year were Gloria Borger, chief political analyst at CNN; George Avakian, music historian and innovator in the jazz recording industry; Mark Golden, CEO of Golden Artist Colors in New Berlin, N.Y.; and Lorie Slutsky, president of the New York Community Trust

Rev. Coyne’s baccalaureate speech

Photo by Andy Daddio

Learn More About George V. Coyne, McDevitt Chair of Religious Philosophy

20100111cnsbr00088Rev. George V. Coyne, McDevitt Chair of Religious Philosophy recently spoke with Sonja Meyer Duntley, staff writer at, about his role at the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo, Italy where he served as its director for nearly three decades.  During his tenure at the Vatican Observatory, Father Coyne launched new educational and research initiatives, carried out planetary research, and helped to shape the views of the Catholic Church on key scientific questions.  In his talk with, Father Coyne discusses his role as Director of the Observatory, his personal scientific expertise, his thoughts on the concept of intelligent design, and his current duties as Endowed McDevitt Chair of Religious Philosophy at Le Moyne College.

Read the interview here:

Coyne Discusses ‘Fertile Universe’ in Beggs Lecture

CoyneDoes our scientific knowledge of the evolving universe stand in conflict with religious faith in a creator?

The Rev. George V. Coyne of Le Moyne College addressed that question, and the importance of respecting the richness of religious faith and scientific research, in the semiannual Beggs Lecture on Science, Spirituality and Society, Monday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. in Sage Chapel.

Coyne is the McDevitt Professor of Religious Philosophy at Le Moyne and a former director of the Vatican Observatory. His talk, “The Dance of the Fertile Universe: An Interplay of Science and Religion,” was presented by Cornell United Religious Work (CURW) and was free and open to the public.

“The universe is 13.7 billion years old, and it contains about 100 billion galaxies, each of which contains on the average 200 billion stars of an immense variety,” Coyne writes. “As these stars live and die, they provide the chemicals necessary for the evolution of life. We came to be in this universe. Did we come about by chance or by necessity?”

Another important element, he says, is “what we might call the ‘fertility’ of the universe. By science we see the dance of the fertile universe, a ballet with three ballerinas: chance, necessity and fertility. In this light I am going to present in broad strokes what I think is some of the best of our modern scientific understanding of the universe, and then I will ask the question at the end: ‘Did God do it?’”

The Robert W. and Mabel De Motte Beggs Lectureship on Science, Spirituality and Society is named for a former CURW chaplain and his wife, both of whom were firm believers in cooperation and understanding among diverse religions. Upon their deaths they bequeathed an endowment for a lectureship on topics in ethics and public policy, comparative religions and the interplay between science and religion. Beggs conceived of the lectureship as hosting speakers who illustrate how “science and religious spirituality can work hand-in-hand for a better world society.”

This article was written by Daniel Aloi and appeared in the Cornell Chronicle on November 5, 2013.

Le Moyne Scholarship Winners Get Connected

On Sunday, March 22 over 100 recipients of Le Moyne College’s Class of 2017 Presidential, Dean, Ignatian, and Loyola scholarships came to campus to learn about the incredible opportunities available at Le Moyne.

Helping to fire their imaginations were our current McDevitt Chairs–Rev. George Coyne, S.J., McDevitt Chair in Religious Philosophy and Dr. Martha Grabowski, McDevitt Chair in information Systems.  Their joint presentation, entitled “Getting Connected: How Oil Spill Response and the Expanding Universe are Related,” powerfully demonstrated how a Le Moyne, liberal arts education, works across disciplinary boundaries to create rich, illuminating, and surprising connections.

Joining professors Coyne and Grabowski were two undergraduate McDevitt Scholars–Alexander Constantino (’14) and Patrick Curtin (’15)—who shared their own experiences as independent researchers and talked about the exciting opportunities that are opening for them as a result of the work they’ve done, and connections they’ve made, here at Le Moyne.

Rev. George V. Coyne, S.J., Alex Constantino '14, Patrick Curtin '15, and Dr. Martha Grabowski at Schloarship Presentation Day.
Rev. George V. Coyne, S.J., Alex Constantino ’14, Patrick Curtin ’15, and Dr. Martha Grabowski at Scholarship Presentation Day.

Father Coyne: Inspiring a New Generation of Scientists

On Sunday, Jan. 26, George V. Coyne, S.J., McDevitt Chair in Religious Philosophy, was the guest speaker for the 2013 Annual Regional Science Olympiad competition held at Le Moyne College. Fr. Coyne gave a brief talk titled “The Universe is Our Home” and assisted in the awards ceremony at the end. At this year’s Regional Science Olympiad, 31 teams from 23 high schools participated in 23 team events covering 5 categories: Life, Personal, and Social Science, Earth and Space Science, Physical Science and Chemistry, Technology and Engineering, and Inquiry and Nature of Science.